Love and work, work and love, that’s all there is
More wise words from Freud. If you actually think about that, and have that in mind when you think about your own life how does it make you feel?
A few month ago this would have been one of the most depressing things i’d read. I mean are you serious, work and love is all there is!! Well fuck, this sucks ass. I hate my job, am I really going to do this for the rest of my life? And love? Meh, a baby certainly mixed that up. Seriously what is the point of all this? It’s around that time that I started with a depressive episode, or whatever phrase you’d like to use. I was low in mood, hated everything in my life, wondered if I loved the people around and most certainly knew the people around me couldn’t possibly love me as I am a hideous person.
Fast forward and now I read that quote and I think ‘hell yes’. Work is great and I love my family and friends.
How can your perspective on things change so drastically in the space of a few months?
For me its been a combination of things. The depression coming to a head, my career taking a turn, a possible bipolar diagnosis, a serious re-evaluation of my life. It was Mark Manson and his chapter on the Value of Suffering which made me look at my own values in life. I realised that for me the main thing I wanted out of my work was to finish at the end of the day and know I had done a good job. This for me meant that I had been friendly, there for people, helpful and not rushed. Once I realised this it was easy. I have been less stressed, happy and I don’t get the dread of going to work. I have a better rapport with my patients and fellow colleagues and I feel like it all means something. Of course there is going to be a day where these things don’t happen, something will go wrong or I won’t quite meet my own expectations, and I hope on that day I will be able to accept it quite simply as a “bad day”, and I will be able to wake up the next day and start again. A few months ago a day like that would have led me to tell you that my job is shit, I don’t want to do it, and then I would probably have drank a few gins and felt even worse the next day. Rinse and repeat.
As for my home life, or love, the main thing actually re-evaluating my values has taught me is to be a better parent. I don’t know how to do this, and thats what I have been struggling with. Am I making the right choices? Is she watching too much TV? Am I providing enough attention? Am I supporting her emotionally? A few months ago I felt so bad about myself as a parent, that I was rubbish at it. The TV would be on all day and we wouldn’t leave the house, then I’d be depressed and think I am a terrible mother and didn’t give her the stimulation she needed. My standard was that we must leave the house at some point each day, so if we didn’t meet that expectation I’d feel terrible and look forward to 7pm (her bedtime) so I could have some gin.
You may start to notice a pattern here…feel bad, drink gin, feel worse.
Now my values and expectations have changed I feel very differently. Of course it’s ridiculous to feel bad if it happens one day you don’t leave the house. So what? That was an unrealistic expectation to have. Similarly to my work life I realised that to be happy with my day I just needed to know that I had done a good job. To know that I had been there for my daughter. This does not mean leaving the house, it could quite simply be that I made sure her teeth were clean and she had plenty to eat and drink, or it could mean that we reduced the amount of TV and spent some time learning her colours. It could even mean that when we did leave the house and she had a meltdown in the shop because it was naptime that I didn’t get stressed out with her and feel like a terrible mother, but instead tended to her needs, provided her with the emotional support she needed, leaving the shop knowing that it would still be there the next day and helping her get her nap.
So look back at what Freud said and think about your own life and see if there is something that maybe you need to re-evaluate. And rememeber as nice as gin is, it isn’t the right answer.